Uninspired Rockies fall to Mets
Jimenez delivers solid outing, but offense can't back start
NEW YORK -- Garrett Atkins' liner toward third base had as much of a chance as any. Not only was the ball smashed, its flight seemed on perfect course to double the Rockies' hit count -- in the ninth inning.
Like any short-lived cruise into the field on this Saturday afternoon, though, the Mets' gloves were mercilessly ever-present. David Wright stretched, he stretched some more and then he ended Colorado's day with one hit in a 3-0 loss.
One connection of bat and ball -- Brad Hawpe's single to left field in the fourth inning -- got a runner on base for the Rockies, aside from four walks Colorado drew. It was the 14th time in the team's history that it has been one-hit, another reminder of a team that can't quite find a break.
Manager Clint Hurdle wouldn't say the Rockies didn't capitalize. There was nothing to expound upon. Saturday's effort was just an epilogue to Friday's 2-1 loss, another example of a team that is still searching for last year's stride.
"Offensively, we are being challenged right now," Hurdle said. "We had four hits in two games, and Hawpe's got three."
Despite six innings of three-run ball from starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who had seven family members and friends in attendance to watch him combat fellow Dominican Pedro Martinez, there was little else the Rockies could point to Saturday as the crushing blow.
An RBI single from Fernando Tatis put the Mets up one. A home run from Jose Reyes came on a Jimenez fastball up in the zone. And the final run, an RBI double from Brian Schneider, eventually meant little in the grand scheme of things.
Regardless, there was no way Jimenez could find the light in which to bask in the glory of outlasting Martinez, who left in the fourth inning with what was announced as right shoulder stiffness. There was no enthusiasm left to latchonto with such a barren offensive effort.
"It was my first time in New York, and everything felt good," Jimenez said. "I am not happy because we didn't win. I can't be happy."
Jimenez's fastball was peaking at 97 mph, and despite a challenging fourth that saw the 24-year-old righty load the bases, the adrenaline rushing through his veins kept the Mets at bay for most of the day.
"You don't think there is an adrenaline rush when you are pitching in Shea Stadium in New York against Pedro?" Hurdle quipped.
But there was little life in the hitters that faced Martinez or reliever Carlos Muniz, or Aaron Heilman, or Scott Schoeneweis and closer Billy Wagner. Not one blip from the box.
Only Hawpe's hit could add wind to an offense that was otherwise suffocated. The openings in which to breathe life into this game were few and far between.
"It's just hitting the ball and finding holes at this point," said shortstop Clint Barmes, who along with Scott Podsednik, Matt Holliday and Atkins contributed to an 0-for-13 game from the top of the order. "We hit the ball hard -- they were hard outs."
Hurdle was quick to give credit to the Mets' pitching staff for throwing strikes, getting ahead in counts and putting oft-misguided secondary pitches in locations that were just as unhittable.
But for the most part, he still couldn't forgive his players for Friday. Those blown chances -- 10 runners left on base -- stung the most. They forced Hurdle to imagine a Sunday that would be a grudge match instead of a salvage mission. Forget about Saturday, Hurdle reiterated.
"We had a game we could have won [on Friday]," Hurdle said. "We win that game [Friday], we get shut out [Saturday], you win one and you are playing a rubber match [Sunday]. You have to take them when they are there. That's what we have failed to do. We haven't taken those games that are out there for us."
Jon Blau is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.